10 greatest Borussia Dortmund kits ever (1990-2020)
Everyone recognises the yellow and black of Borussia Dortmund. Here are some of the best shirts they’ve ever had...
The Yellow Wall has always been bursting with stunning shirts.
Drowned in a wave of cacophonous sound, the stands of the Westfalenstadion are traditionally swarmed by glorious shades of yellow and black. This is arguably the most intoxicating, intimidating atmosphere in European football, and Borussia Dortmund have gradually developed one of the strongest identities in the beautiful game.
The sight of that looming (and seemingly endless) sea of yellow quickly has the opposition gulping like a cartoon sound effect, especially when trying to deal with that relentless gegenpress. The likes of Matthias Sammer and Marco Reus ultimately delivered the goods on the pitch, but the shirts of Die Schwarzgelben sit at the heart of their success down the years.
This is one of the most striking colour palettes you’re ever likely to see, and BVB have a truly remarkable shirt history. Still, I’m taking on the unenviable task of ranking the best Dortmund kits of the past 30 years, and some of these beauties definitely require sunglasses...
This blog is part of our Shirt Giants series. There is more to come, but you can check out the rest of the series here:
10. 2003/04 - Dortmund European Shirt
When talking about Borussia Dortmund, there’s only one way I can really start: with a bit of home-grown talent.
While Lars Ricken, Michael Zorc and Marco Reus have all stepped through the doors of their incredible academy, this classy kit from 03/04 involves the best shirt Dortmund have produced themselves (kind of). You see, Goool is actually a subsidiary of the club, so I’m classing this as homegrown as a fresh-faced Mario Götze.
This was one of the last designs Goool made before Nike took over, and the simple elegance of the whole thing is just a joy to behold. Worn during that season’s UEFA Cup campaign, the black collar and V-neck makes all the difference here, contrasting perfectly with that particularly bright shade of yellow.
9. 1997/98 - Dortmund Away Shirt
This is the only non-yellow and black shirt in this list, and it’s an absolute beauty. Dortmund have experimented with various change colours down the years, and the 90s saw them play around with vibrant blues, pinks and purples, but this toned-down grey effort is definitely my pick of the bunch.
It’s just such a complete contrast to what we’d usually expect from Die Schwarzgelben, although a similar colour has since been used on their 2017/18 third shirt. There’s just the slightest hint of their usual character on the collar and cuffs, with a small injection of colour polishing off a very smart shirt indeed.
Oh, and it’s also worth noting that they actually swapped sponsors during this season, so you can even bag a version of this shirt with the classic Die Continentale logo instead. Either way, it’s a fantastic design.
8. 1993/94 - Dortmund Home Shirt
Dortmund shirts from the mid-90s are special. This fantastic effort from 93/94 is undoubtedly up there with the best of them, serving up the kind of insane vibrancy I love to see from retro football shirts. Do you remember that picture of the Fresh Prince playing Nintendo on a zebra print rug? Yeah, this is more 90s than that.
It possibly isn’t to everyone’s taste, but there’s no question that this luminous shade of yellow immediately grabs the attention. I personally think it’s nothing short of outstanding, making the kind of wonderfully bold statement Dortmund have become so famous for. It’s bursting with the vibrancy and colour of the club, even if you do feel like you’re staring directly into the sun.
Featuring the Nike Futura and a shirt sponsor for the ages, the design is finished off by an outrageous graphic on the sleeve and shoulders. Dortmund x Will Smith? This isn’t too far away.
7. 2012/13 - Dortmund European Shirt
This is Dortmund all over. It’s bold, beautiful, and spent an entire season intimidating the rest of Europe. Under the guidance of Jurgen Klopp, this shirt instantly reminds me of their relentless gegenpress, with a hive of black and yellow bees swarming the opposition and stinging them into submission.
It might be a template (I seem to remember Newcastle wearing something very similar), but the Dortmund colours just work so damn well with that stripe pattern. This became an instant classic, with Dortmund flying to the Champions League Final and completely dismantling Real Madrid along the way.
There have even been a few nods back to this in more recent designs, with the 2016-17 home shirt using a similar stripe pattern.
6. 1998/00 - Dortmund Home Shirt
The champions of Europe definitely deserved a more golden shade of yellow. The fluorescent shades of the earlier 90s were now a thing of the past, making way for a much deeper colour and a home shirt which Dortmund wore for two full seasons.
After taking over from Die Continentale midway through the previous season, the scribbled s.Oliver logo definitely adds to the sophistication of the design, complemented by a smart black collar and cuffs. Although the white panels running down both sides offer something unusual, this is a slightly smarter Dortmund shirt which brought a close to their partnership with Nike.
Unfortunately, it also brought an end to the glory days for the Champions League-winners, although the disappointing league campaigns don’t make this any less beautiful.
5. 1996/97 - Dortmund European Shirt
This is actually one of the most valuable football shirts in the world right now, so good for you if you’re lucky enough to own one. Of course, this is what Dortmund were wearing on that magical night in Munich, when they overcame Juventus to clinch the greatest prize of all. Regardless of the design, this shirt will always be a key part of the club’s history.
Fortunately, the design also happens to be brilliant. The classic luminous yellow of the 90s is there in all its glory, but this time it comes alongside bulky black stripes and shoulder panels, while the text of the Die Continentale sponsor has been dropped completely. There’s quite a lot going on, but it’s basically a crazy mash-up of everything I love about Dortmund shirts.
The regular home shirt was also pretty spectacular that year, but it couldn’t never top the shirt that won their first-ever Champions League. Now they’ve got Erling Håland, hopefully number two isn’t that far away.
4. 2008/09 - Dortmund Home Shirt
Dortmund should think about playing with pinstripes more often, because this look really does work for them. Although this marked another end to their partnership with Nike, this stylish shirt undoubtedly freshened things up a bit in 2008, providing one of the classiest designs they’ve had to date.
The use of black is much more subtle than on previous shirts, letting us soak up all that glorious yellow (especially when worn with the yellow shorts). There’s just a splash of black on the collar and logos, coming alongside the thin stripes to complete the club’s traditional colour palette. Not too bad at all.
In fact, this is just about elegant enough for my next dinner party. If only I was ever invited to any.
3. 1995/96 - Dortmund Home Shirt
The beauty of having a strong pattern on the sleeve is that it essentially frees up the rest of the shirt. You’ve probably noticed that this is a hallmark of Dortmund kits in the 90s, with Nike regularly experimenting with the sleeves and giving that “highlighter” yellow plenty of room. Yep, you better get the shades out.
It’s actually really impressive when you look back at what they came up with, but the graphic they produced for 95/96 is definitely one of my favourites. It looks ridiculously sharp and fresh, framed beautifully by a dash of white and coming alongside their classic Die Continentale sponsor. God, I need one.
It probably helps that Dortmund were absolutely unstoppable that season, roaring to their second Bundesliga title and, just as importantly, booking their place in next season’s Champions League. Sammer, Zorc and Riedle all had more glory to come.
2. 2011/12 - Dortmund Home Shirt
If you’re going to win the double, you might as well do it in a sensational football shirt. I’ve always found it a shame the Evonik logo doesn’t sit in black, but the pattern on this bad boy is just completely out of this world. In fact, it actually makes the most of the sponsor.
This is polka dots mixed with chequered squares, creating the kind of eye-catching pattern which actually gets a bit disorientating if you stare at it for too long. The gradient effect is dizzying and wonderful all at the same time, supported by a black collar and cuffs - as well as some pretty extreme Kappa branding on the sleeves.
To be fair, this was the last time we saw the Kappa logo on a Dortmund shirt, so at least they made the most of it.
1. 1994/95 - Dortmund Home Shirt
This is one of my favourite football shirts of all-time, and I’m not just talking about Borussia Dortmund. It’s nothing short of magnificent.
In a nutshell, this is quintessential Nike x Dortmund. The luminous yellow was pretty controversial at the time, but this vivid shade has undoubtedly aged like a fine wine, becoming the calling card of that glorious period in the mid-90s. I don’t think it’s ever looked better than it does right here.
This is also Nike’s strongest sleeve pattern (and I don’t say that lightly) with the famous “wings” graphic looking particularly impressive on long-sleeves. The Die Continentale and BVB logos are there once again, but here the Futura sits centrally on the collar, a design choice which was mirrored in some of Nike’s popular third kits this season.
It’s no coincidence that Nike have just released a new clothing range inspired by this iconic shirt. I can only hope that one day Dortmund themselves serve up a throwback to this luminous masterpiece.
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